As a STEM student in college and the sole enthusiast in my family, I often felt lost when it came to determining my desired career path. However, during my time at Northeastern University, specifically my first co-op experience at Selux Dx, introduced me to the world of startups.
Upon graduation, like many of my peers, I was uncertain about what lay ahead. The only thing I was certain about was my desire to work at a startup. Consequently, I embarked on my post-graduation career at Kojin Tx, a small molecule drug discovery company. It was within the dynamic and exhilarating environment of a startup that I discovered my true passion for wearing multiple hats and making a tangible impact.
Here are a few reasons why exploring startups can serve as a perfect launchpad for students seeking a fulfilling career.
1. Building Your Network
Networking is often touted as a vital element for career success, but startups take it to a whole new level. Within the vibrant startup ecosystem, you have the privilege of collaborating with industry experts and seasoned professionals. These connections go beyond superficial exchanges; they become invaluable networks that foster knowledge sharing, mentorship opportunities, and potential collaborations.
I was able to leverage my skills in content creation, social media, and PR to provide unique contributions to the company. This allowed me to engage with professionals from different fields and broaden my understanding of the startup ecosystem. By stepping outside of my designated role, I actively expanded my skill set and made a meaningful impact on the overall growth and success of the company.
2. Unleashing Your Curiosity and Asking as Many Questions as You Want
Entering a company filled with highly educated individuals can be intimidating. However, being the least educated person in the room presents a valuable opportunity for personal growth. While formal education is important, learning from the experiences of others provides valuable insights and helps uncover true passions. Embrace the chance to learn from others and engage in diverse projects, as it fosters personal growth and self-discovery.
Through my involvement in non-R&D projects and active exploration of various aspects within the biotech company, I discovered my innate affinity for problem-solving and strategic thinking.
3. Future Proofing Your Career: Mold Your Job, Your Way
Startups operate on a simple principle: there is always more work than there are people to do it. As a young professional fresh out of college, eager to absorb knowledge, this presents an ideal environment to take on multiple projects and expand your skill set.
While my primary role at the startup revolved around research and development, I quickly recognized the pressing need for market research and due diligence. Leveraging my passion for research and my ability to analyze different companies, I embarked on these additional responsibilities. Not only did this contribute to the company's fundraising efforts, but it also equipped me with a versatile toolkit that would prove invaluable in future career transitions.
4. Enhancing Interpersonal Skills While Contributing to Company Culture
Technical skills are undoubtedly important, but the key to success lies in your soft skills, particularly your ability to connect with others. Startups often house professionals from various fields and backgrounds. Therefore, developing strong interpersonal skills becomes vital for fostering collaboration and creating a thriving company culture.
Overcoming my fear of asking for things, I co-led the formation of a culture committee within the company. This initiative allowed me to actively contribute to building a vibrant and inclusive workplace, leveraging my passion for community-building and organization.
While startups may not be the ideal choice for everyone, their dynamic and adaptive nature
presents unmatched opportunities for personal and professional growth. As a student and a recent graduate, working in a startup exposed me to a network of experts, imparted valuable lessons from experienced professionals, diversified my skill set, and enhanced my interpersonal abilities. Embracing the discomfort and stepping out of your comfort zone are catalysts for genuine growth.
See you at Startup Boston Week!
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